Michael Schumacher has now given a more optimistic view of Mercedes GP's likely form in 2010.

After the initial Valencia test, when the Brackley based team seemed off the pace, Mercedes figures including Schumacher confessed that they were perhaps not the favourites for the forthcoming season.

But after a mammoth 124 laps of the Jerez circuit on Thursday, despite going just sixth quickest, Schumacher was quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "I assume that we have a package with which we can fight for the championship throughout the year."

The 41-year-old German's car was faster than Fernando Alonso's Ferrari at Jerez, but the Spaniard managed a similarly impressive tally of 129 laps on Thursday.

"This is a very reliable car and potentially quite good," a cautious Alonso told Spain's AS newspaper.

"But McLaren has also been doing some good times, Mercedes are there and Red Bull as well.

"(The pecking order) remains to be seen," said the 28-year-old.


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